Guarnacci, Mario

Full Name: 
Guarnacci, Mario
Year Born: 
Year Died: 
Place Born: 
Volterra, Italy
Place Died: 
Volterra, Italy
Home Country: 
Historian of Etruscans including their art; early excavator of Etruscan tombs. Guarnacci was born to a wealthy, noble family. In 1726 he moved to Rome to participate as a cleric in the church. Returning to his native Volterra on holidays, he began excavating the recently discovered Etruscan tombs. He did so with this two brothers, Piero and Giovanni Guarnacci. Their first excavation in 1738 resulted in the discovery of ten vases. He and his friend and colleague Antonio Francesco Gori (1691-1757) developed an acumen for discerning forgeries, of which there were many during this time and even a few in Guarnacci's own collection. An excellent scholar, he was advanced by both Pope Clement XII and Benedict XIV. Guarnacci retired to Volterra in 1757. In 1761 he willed his extensive library and his collection (which he called his museum') to the city of Volterra, today known as the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci in his honor.
Selected Bibliography: 
Origini italiche, o siano memorie istorico-etrusche: sopra l'antichissimo regno d'Italia e sopra i di lei primi abitatori nei secoli piu remoti. 3 vols. Lucca: Appresso Leonardo Venturini, 1767-72..
Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, p. 546